Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

SpaceX rocket brightens skies over Phoenix area, sparks curiosity, awe

SpaceX rocket brightens skies over Phoenix area, sparks curiosity, awe

The Californian skies dazzled at night with a spectacular light show as SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was launched yesterday.

Following the launch, the Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed on SpaceX's new Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) landing pad at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

There have been 30 successful SpaceX booster landings in all, including the at-sea and on-land touchdowns in Florida.

In metro Phoenix, witnesses hit up social media with photos and videos of the peculiar streak of light and ghostlike images they saw. The primary goal of the flight was to boost Argentina's SAOCOM 1A satellite into an orbit around Earth's poles, the first of two orbital radar stations capable of "seeing" through clouds and at night to measure soil moisture, a key indicator of crop yields, droughts and floods.

U.S. Air Force officials warned residents of multiple counties across the Golden State earlier this week that they might hear "one or more sonic booms" during the landing attempt.

It marked the first time the company has pulled off its now-signature rocket recovery method on land on the West Coast.

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Minutes after launch, the rocket's second stage separated from the first-stage booster and continued rising spaceward. The company views ground-based rocket landings as better for expediting reuse, since drone ship landings require time to return to port.

SpaceX has previously launched a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg and landed it offshore in the Pacific Ocean aboard a droneship.

As the biggest antenna in space for a civil mission, its main goal is to gather soil moisture information.

Known as plume interaction, the phenomena has been known to produce extraordinary visual effects and the launch of SAOCOM 1A was certainly no exception.

SAOCOM 1, together with the Italian COSMO-SkyMed X-Band SAR constellation, make up the Italian-Argentine Satellite System for Emergency Management, or SIASGE. Its acronym is short for Satelite Argentino de Observacion Con Microondas.

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